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Criticism is gathering around the report released late last month by PwC titled ‘Semicon in NL’. Last week, we published this article about the report, which was prepared by one of the world’s leading accounting and consulting firms.

Why this is important:

The report’s thrust is that the Dutch chip sector faces a crucial challenge. According to PWC, heavy dependence on a few large chip giants threatens future growth and could lead to a missed revenue potential of €6 billion. The report concludes that diversification into adjacent markets is necessary to avoid this impending financial blow.

One-sided and ‘toe-curling’

There is no criticism of this. According to René Raaijmakers, editor-in-chief of High-Tech Systems, the report presents the semiconductor sector as one-sided. Advocating a diversification strategy creates a distorted picture of the future. He calls the report “toe-curling” and defends the contention that the current concentration of the Dutch manufacturing industry on semiconductors is the right strategic choice. According to him, PwC paints a false picture of the future and shows a lack of understanding of Dutch high-tech manufacturing and the global chip market.

Or, as the editor-in-chief wrote on LinkedIn, “…with that they [PWC’s advice to diversify, ed] send our industry into the swamp. Firm and sustained commitment to chips is the only right strategy… Guarding against too much dependence on ASML, ASM, and NXP is good, but staying ahead in what is recognized globally as the most strategic market seems to be the highest priority.”

Strong focus to remain a world leader

Dutch companies such as ASML, ASM, and NXP are currently global leaders and crucial to both the local economy and global technological progress in the chip industry. Raaijmakers emphasizes that a strong focus on chips will enable national high-tech suppliers to grow and remain at the forefront of this strategic market.

In addition, the criticism concerns PwC’s perspective on capacity limits. Specialization has not hurt the Dutch chip industry. Focusing on specific technologies and forging deep relationships with a few significant customers have ensured a strong market position. But, PwC’s report says this specialization is also a weakness in a rapidly changing world. Risks increase as dependence increases.

In his opinion article, Raaijmakers refutes the claim that Dutch suppliers would not benefit from possible “spillover effects. “Contrary to what the PwC report suggests, it is precisely the specialized focus on semiconductors that can be a breeding ground for additional knowledge and technological advances.”

The future of Dutch high-tech

The Dutch high-tech community rejects concerns about being relegated to a precision parts supply region, as suggested by PwC. It believes that the existing focus on the semiconductor market is accompanied by significant growth opportunities not only within this industry but also in related markets such as medical technology, defense, and automotive.

At its core, the debate is whether the Dutch high-tech sector should continue to specialize or focus on broader diversification. This is an important debate—not only for the companies involved and their employees but also for the Netherlands’ position in the global economy and technology. In any case, one thing is clear: the Dutch chip industry will undoubtedly remain a topic of conversation in the coming period.